tv [untitled] August 18, 2011 8:00pm-8:30pm PDT
demonstrated improved coordination, balance, and possible upper body strength. as an occupational therapist who has worked with persons with physical disabilities for 15 years, i'm fairly sensitive and knowledgeable in observing and assessing motor skills and i'm quite confident in this observation. so i want to thank mr. ginsberg for the dream that he had and for his visit that he came out to the camp and was able to experience and see the children playing together and working together in inclusive setting. i appreciate the opportunity for being able to be a part of this first summer at camp azure. thank you. i'd like ton't dues steven -- introduce steven at this time. >> thank you. thank you, my name is steve and i'm a parent of a 10-year-old
beautiful boy with autism. and i remember march of last year went by mclaren lodge and i saw you, phil, and i know you have told this story a couple of times how i brought my boy, a.j. there, and said, can you help us? my boy has autism. what can you offer him in the summertime as a camp experience? and that sort of began a long relationship and wonderful time working with you and lucas and a number of other people here that spent time and effort trying to find ways that we could involve both the community, the private sector, and so on, to get this a reality. because it is expensive. the stats are really daunting that you heard from vicky. one in 120. mostly boys. that means one in 40 boys in san francisco has autism. and that's -- if there was some
kind ever external threat that was neurologically damaging our children everybody would be up in arms. because it's mysterious, we don't know where it comes from. it's partially genetic, partially environmental. the needs are still not met. so what we needed 20 do -- to do is try to find a way that we could have this one-on-one with an aide and camper experience, and wonderful glen canyon's the ideal place, i have to tell you, rather than a flat land, because of its location and the fact it is in a canyon that most of our kids, our special campers, are runners. that means if they are let go, they go. and because of this natural surrounding, it's almost like nature is giving them a big bear hug there in glen canyon and they can't run up the hill. they are safe, they are enclosed. vicky put together marvelous program. had some special tents just for kids. when meltdowns did occur because kids with autism often like being in closed areas. they feel safer.
and a lot of the typical camp, why can't i have autism? i want to go into that tent, too. so i would like to just tell you a couple of the benefits and play a three-minute video on it. it of course prior to this year those four weeks were summertime in general are really difficult for parents. if you have a child with autism, you really do have to dedicate your life to that. my wife -- very successful venture capitalist, but she had to let that go for a while to take care of her boy. here, sally, very successful lawyer, with her boy, jonah, had to let that career go for a while. she's come whack to it. -- back to t it's a full-time job. what do you do in the summertime? we don't see autism in san francisco so much because the kids and their parents are in their homes. the kids don't want to go out. they feel threatened by unknown
spaces. parents are exhausted. they are overwhelmed. and this was just such a wonderful opportunity for these kids. to be outdoors, to get exercise, to sleep better, therapeutic for them. great for the parents. if you counted the number of hours, i think it was 2,600 productive hours given to the community. those parents can work or take care of themselves, exercise. that's a great gift the city of san francisco. also a great gift to the one on one aides that seek employment. they learned and developed as human beings. learned something from this. and finally, it's a great gift also to the neuro typical campers there at silver tree because what we need to continue to do, as we know 80% of awe at this timists are under 18 years old. we need to cultivate this relationship between the autistic community and the neuro typical community. as many kids really don't
understand autism. this was a great opportunity for them. in four weeks to get to know some and make friends with them and understand it is a developmental disorder. but these are kids just like any other kid that want to be outdoors and loved and have a really, really good time. one of the other things that we did is we did -- were able to get releases by parents who felt comfortable with their children being videotaped and have a private utube channel so that these parents who were quite frankly many parents were a little bit scared. the first time, and to drop their kids off, their new camp experience, 20 of them all together. they didn't know what was going to happen. we were able to have some video footage there so the same day they could log on to that private youtube channel and see what's going on. see what's happening. and a little bit of that was put together in a three-minute clip. is alvin here? no.
just so that parents actually could feel comfort and. -- comfortable. i have to say i also received lots of notes from parents. it's just a sampling of what vicky put together. i do want to say thank you for taking this big risk to provide -- other cities, i have looked what the city of vancouver has done for their camp, their kids on the spectrum, and they are way ahead of a lot of cities and states, now san francisco has really come to the front and it's something i do want to -- help fundraising, whatever way we can do. i got tons of ideas. and i'd like to see the camp grow from 20 campers per week to hopefully more.
just to say it would be great to have more options. this camp filled up in two days. this was in march. it went on line, bam, there was a long waiting list. it would be nice to expand the age range to include kids from 13 to 18 years old. there's many, many, many directions we can go to see this very successful project grow. this is a little three-minute clip.
nice rhythm. ♪ >> nice. good job. >> all right. >> so that's just a glimpse of those successful four weeks and i'd like to have sally come just for a couple minutes and share with her -- with you personal experiences regarding this. >> thanks. just want to thank parks and rec and especially steve and vicky for the amazing summer my son had. jonah is 10 years old.
he's severely autistic. he's not verbal. every year we get the park and rec wonderful offerings. my daughter talks about what she's going to sign up for. it's it's what can we do for jonah? jonah goes to camp mom as steve alluded to and it's just not the same as being out with other kids his own age. it's so good for the kids. it's so good for the families. it's so good for the siblings to see their siblings can go out. jonah has not been away from me. steve's son, my son, they're quite affected. they are not going to go into new spaces, overwhelming spaces without a structure and support and every day jonah happily got out of the car, ran to his wonderful aide, chris, and came home filthy. came home with dirt from climbing up the canyon and with the rope swings.
and just happy, happy child. like every parent dreams of having is a happy child who goes to camp and enjoys his summer rather than enjoying the summer of no structure. i can't tell you what this has meant to all the families. i talked to the parents. they can't wait until next year. as steve alluded to, this is a long list for the camp. i am hopeful. i want to work with parks and reck to expand this -- rec to expand this so more children with parent. hopefully with the speerties that vicky brings with -- expertise that vicky brings with this maybe we can get an after-school program. every kid deserves what all san francisco kids have which is a wonderful, wonderful youth program as you alluded to. it's expanded, the youth program in the city is amazing. this is a wonderful, embracing city that's done a lot for our kids and now i am really grateful that we're depog some for our kids with you a --
doing so much for our kids with autism as well. thank you. president buell: thank you. >> i want to thank those on my staff who has worked especially hard to raise the funds for this camp. they are extraordinary and they are to be commended for their work. president buell: thank you. >> is there any public comment on this item? being none, public comment is closed. president buell: commissioner lee. commissioner lee: i just want to commend you all on the work that you're doing here. i have a close family friend who also has a child who's autistic. and, you know, it's a growing problem in san francisco. you see a large population that i think is growing and there is some research that shows there's a correlation with the demographics of the city, given our city is older, becoming an older city and as parents are
starting families later and later in their lives that autism just seems to be on the rise. so this is something that is needed and maps with the trajectory of the demographics in the city. i was amazed to see that this program is essentially entirely privately funded. through foundation grants. and that you are able to put a program together funded almost entirely from donations. i don't recall another program like that that was started up so quickly and that you managed to pull together. this is really a great testament to your work. president buell: i have a question, if i could. is there more capacity at the camp? if there was more money could they accommodate more kids?
>> yes. president buell: what's the ratio of how much we can serve versus who we can serve? >> 2-1. there were kids that wanted to participate in the camp that couldn't. president buell: if we raised twice as much money you could accommodate that full list? >> that's correct. >> the camp ran for four weeks. we'd like to run it, you know, all summer long and i think vicky has some additional capacity. obviously the key to the program is the one-on-one assistance that our kids get. but i think there is more capacity in the space and we'd certainly like to run it for a longer season. and my staff is also very creative. has begun to envision -- i don't know what the mission is. the saturday monthly sessions. one of the things i was most struck by, mr. president, is the conversations that i've had with steven and other parents who said, you don't know -- you don't really know what this
does, not just for our kids but for us whether we can invest a little time in other siblings or in each other. and how important that is to having a productive healthy family. we are determined to figure out how to grow this program. president buell: i was going to say, stating the obvious but i think we ought to put in our goals a way to fill that camp with everybody that would like to go. commissioner harrison. commissioner harrison: what's the age? range you can accommodate now? >> up to 12 years old. 8 to 12. commissioner harrison: so you're looking forward to -- >> sorry, 6 to 12. as steven said, the goal would to go older. i'd leave that up to vicky and the other staff to determine how best to do that, whether they want to expand both older and the numbers or just expand the numbers and the age range that we have now.
president buell: thank you. barring any further questions, could we get a motion? >> so moved. president buell: seconded. all those in favor. aye. no opposition. thank you very much, everybody, that participated in this. >> thank you, commissioner. >> we are on item number 10, the japanese teagarden. >> that's a hard act to follow. beautiful presentation, really. i was here at the operations committee meeting, as you know. this is sort of a culmination of a long process with the japanese teagarden. we started with request for proposals for new operator which was selected and carol has been in operation for two full years. beginning i think next -- beginning of next month.
part of her proposal was $500,000 gift in her proposal for the rehabilitation of the tea house and the gift shop in the japanese teagarden that was very generously given by jack hirose which probably spurred the idea of naming the tea house for jack to begin with. but once i started doing a lot of research on jack, i mentioned at the committee meeting, i was very impressed by his broad background in the city and more specifically in the japanese american community. jack was born and raised in san francisco. his parents immigrated from japan along with other japanese and japanese american individuals was sent to internment camps during world war ii. during that work he helped bring extra dollars. at that point he joined the united states army as a
translator and worked under general mcarthur and stayed in japan after the war for a period of time and then he moved back to san francisco and went to college and got a degree in accounting. ended up starting his own business because the prejudice still remained after the war and he was really not able to be hired by large companies. but the -- this is the great part of knowing about jack after i've gotten to know him is that he spent all of the time he was away in the country thinking what he was going to do for him and his family and his friends from the japanese american community in san francisco when he came back here. so rather than let things like that get him down he started his business to reach out for japanese companies so that he would -- he would bring them
and his clients. in 1959 he first approached the city about operating the concessions in the japanese teagarden. it had just returned to be called the japanese teagarden. during the war it was called the oriental garden. that was an enormous public event when it was turned back to japanese teagarden. so jack operated the concessions in the teagarden along with his other businesses from 1959 to 1992. and over the course -- if you recalculate the dollars, according to improvements that he's put into the guarden including this $500,000 that he gave to ms. mirata, he's given almost $1 million thus far. but i think the most important thing and the reason that the san francisco foundation approached us about naming the tea house for jack was his undying effort to and his philanthropy and generosity for
so many organizations in san francisco in and out of the japanese american community, to be able to honor him in this way. i had the distinct pleasure, actually, if you want to call it that, of attending jack's funeral in 2009 because even though i didn't know him really well personally i think when you go to a memorial service or a funeral for somebody, even if you know them well you walk away knowing so much more about that individual. to stand up and listen to those i know well, those in the japanese american community, stand up and tell how much he affected their lives and what he did for them, laura can i mora is someone i met because he's our accountant for some of our past concessions. i didn't know he and jack's son, don, worked in the tea house when they were in high school. so it was a huge fabric that was brought together in my
mind. so with that -- and i attached a biography, i think, in your pact and you have letters of recommendations -- in your packet and you have letters of recommendations supporting this, i wanted to bring this to your request and personally it's been a great adventure for me to get to know more about jack and what he means for the community and exactly how much it meant for the community to have the garden rehar bill tated as it is today. i'm hoping within the next month or two, part of the general manager's report, we have a lot of pictures collected of the work that's been done in the garden and if you have not gone by the garden recently you should do that. i'd also like to thank rick from the capital division because the city had a part in this. we actually replaced another bridge as part of these
improvements and rick did an outstanding job in getting that done. president buell: thank you. >> we do have public comment. don timaki and sandy mori. >> thank you, commissioners, and general manager ginsburg, thank you. tom, you are also a hard act to follow. i think you did well in summarizing jack's life and, of course, we recognize the generosity of his gift done to the san francisco japantown foundation so that his intern can fund the renovations that was badly needed in the japanese teagarden but also jack hirose is a hero within the japanese american community. as you can see from the letters for a number of reasons. so what we're actually talking about is his legacy. it's not only the legacy of
this individual in the japanese american community but it's part of the fabric of the city of san francisco that i think tom outlined. his parents immigrated like so many japanese americans from san francisco at the turn of the century. at a time of ultraracism, ultrasegregation in this community. and despite that in the most -- in the finest way of american tradition, overcame that. world war ii happened, of course. like others, 110,000 others, jack hirose's family wound up inturned in toe paz, combruth, -- topaz, because he looked like the enemy along with the rest of the families. he volunteered to work with the military intelligence service which trained at the presidio in secret while their families remained incarcerated in various internment camps throughout the united states. i think the most important that throughout that never lost
faith in america and came back to the japanese american community as a major contributor and supporter. and so i represent the san francisco japantown foundation. jack was a founding member of that foundation. was founded in 2005, and because of contributions, including jack's, we've given away dozens of grants to cultural community educational groups. and in the latest opportunity, played a role in working with tom and his staff in connection with renovating the japanese teagarden. so we think it's singularly fitting to name the fey house after him and -- tea house after him and then in commemoration of his contributions and also the contributions of japanese americans generally in the city of san francisco, we think it's fitting to also have the placement of that plaque. so i really want to thank you for the opportunity to address
you on this. and it's a pleasure, really, to work with the staff of the park and rec department. i complend tom for doing such a fine -- i commend tom for doing such a fine job working with the community. thank you. president buell: thank you. >> good afternoon. president buell and members of the commission and director ginsburg. i'm sandy mori. i'm a member of the directors of the japantown foundation and a founder. don is our president. present today is keith komasu kimbings. when you see the renovation of the teagarden you'll be pleased of this very culturally appropriate venue and you'll love the design and the fact that the wood in the tea house
has no nails in it. that's one of the very well-known japanese car pen tree techniques. -- carpentry techniques. carol has done a wonderful job making sure that everything in there is appropriate, very culturally sensitive. i'd like to acknowledge her work. she is here today, along with her staff. and i'd like to call carol up to the podium with me and have her show a few photos that she took recently to show you the recent renovations so that you could get a little bit pictorial idea about what it looks like now. and also while she's coming up, i want to commend your staff person, tom hart, who we've worked with. our board member bob, has been working closely on. tom has been giving us the
guide anls as we go through this process in asking for this request. so this is carol mirata. we'd like to show you some of the photos. i don't know if you could see it. this is before and after. president buell: can you pass those closer up? we'd love to see them. >> great. president buell: thank you. >> so, commissioners, jack's family, his wife and son, would be so delighted with this particular commemoration and plaque and designation of the tea house. so we ask you for your support on this request. thank you very much. president buell: thank you very much.